letter writing

Animal Voice - January 2005
Campaign newsletter of the
Irish Council Against Blood Sports

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports wishes all its supporters a happy and peaceful New Year. We thank you for all your campaigning work throughout 2004 and look forward to your continued dedication to the campaign this year. With your help, we can make a difference.

In This Issue:

01. Very Urgent: Minister urged to stand firm on state lands policy
02. Hare species - protected in Northern Ireland, persecuted in Republic
03. Brigitte Bardot supports coursing ban in Ireland
04. Trevor Sargent calls for end to coursing licences
05. New Petition: Ban Blood Sports in 2005
06. Foxhunt trespass highlighted in Dail
07. Another hunting priest is exposed
08. Please contact your local politicians
09. Complaint to Irish Times over Ward Union coverage
10. President Mary McAleese invited to sign petition
11. Thirty-five deer shot in Sligo, many left to die slowly
12. Badger extermination "not viable" say Irish researchers
13. Conviction of Cruel Horse Owner
14. Campaign Quotes

01. Very Urgent: Minister urged to stand firm on state lands policy

Environment Minister, Dick Roche, has been urged to stand firm on the policy of "no hunting" on state lands. Last year, it was announced that the policy would definitely remain but ICABS has learned that the Minister is to hear another appeal from wildlife shooters this Monday, January 17th, 2005. During the meeting, the National Association of Regional Game Councils (Gun Clubs) will again put their case for access to hunt and shoot wildlife in our national parks and nature reserves.

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports heaved a sigh of relief in January 2004 when Minister Roche's predecessor, Martin Cullen, made a definitive decision not to allow hunting in state lands for very good reasons.

Outlining the reasons for the decision to NARGC's Des Crofton, the then minister's private secretary stated: "The National Parks & Wildlife Service sites were acquired, using public funds, for the purpose of nature conservation and they should serve as refuges and breeding places for species of wildlife...the general public understands that the role of NPWS is to protect wildlife and would view hunting on NPWS property as inconsistent with that role."

But now, it would seem, the shooters have emerged once again to pose a threat to our vulnerable wildlife which, sadly, have precious few refuges available to them in this country. Ireland's national parks constitute a mere one per cent of the total land area of Ireland, and it is imperative that these few areas of sanctuary are kept hunter-free.

The background to the whole issue extends back to 1999 when the gun clubs requested the then Minister, Sile De Valera, to reconsider the long-standing policy of no hunting on state lands. There followed a review by the Heritage Council who advised that no shooting should be permitted in national parks. A senior National Parks and Wildlife Service official, Barry Murphy, summed it all up when he said that "hunting with guns is not the way to go in areas of refuge for wildlife where people go to be close to nature."

In a recent letter to Minister Dick Roche, ICABS called for the state-owned lands to be kept free from animal persecution. "The general public, families, etc visit the national parks for peace, beauty, tranquillity and to enjoy the flora and fauna," we outlined. "Most people would be horrified and outraged to have the peace and serenity that they have come to experience and enjoy in the parks shattered by gun fire. Even being aware of any hunting being allowed in the national parks would spoil it for many prospective visitors."


Please immediately contact Minister Roche and appeal to him to keep the policy of "no hunting" on state lands. Tell him that the state's wildlife parks and nature reserves are havens for wildlife and should never be open to those who kill animals for sport.

Minister Dick Roche
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House
Dublin 1.
Email: minister@environ.ie
Tel: +353 (0)1-8882403
LoCall: 1890-202021 (Request to speak to Minister Roche or his secretary)
Fax: +353 (0)1-8788640.

(If possible, please write your own original letter. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence).

Dear Minister Roche,

I understand that you are meeting with representatives of the National Association of Regional Game Councils this Monday, January 17th.

I implore you to refuse any request for changes to be made to the current policy of "no hunting" on state lands. These important lands represent one of the few remaining havens for Irish wildlife. Those who kill animals for sport should NEVER be permitted access.

In January 2004, your predecessor, Martin Cullen, made a definitive decision not to allow hunting in state lands for very good reasons. These reasons were summed up as follows in a statement issued by his office: "The National Parks & Wildlife Service sites were acquired, using public funds, for the purpose of nature conservation and they should serve as refuges and breeding places for species of wildlife...the general public understands that the role of NPWS is to protect wildlife and would view hunting on NPWS property as inconsistent with that role."

I sincerely hope that you will stand by this and keep our state lands off-limits to those who kill animals for "sport".

Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,


02. Hare species - protected in Northern Ireland, persecuted in Republic

Northern Ireland's Environment Minister, Angela Smith, has announced an extension to the ban on the capturing of hares from the wild in that jurisdiction. The year-long ban which began in January 2004 has now been extended to at least March 31st 2005. In a statement issued late last month, Minister Smith cited the following as reasons for her decision to extend the ban:

- The "high hare mortality rate associated with a recent coursing meeting in Wexford".

- The "stress levels that can result from hares being netted, held and coursed".

- Concern for the general recovery in the hare population.

The Wexford meeting referred to was held at New Ross during the 2003-04 coursing season and resulted in the stress-related deaths of up to forty hares. In a letter last January, vet Peter A Murphy told the National Parks and Wildlife Service that "under the influence of stress, the hare's immune system is compromised and these organisms suddenly multiply rapidly to cause a severe clinical disease and ultimately death."

"Hares being normally solitary animals," Mr Murphy wrote, "are significantly stressed when corralled and coursed, and this combination of circumstances has resulted in the deaths in this case."

Angela Smith's positive move to help protect the hare species comes less than a month after her counterpart in the Republic, Dick Roche, outlined that "there are no proposals to change existing arrangements for the licensed netting of wild hares for live hare coursing."

Not only is coursing being allowed to continue in the Republic, those who were stopped from coursing in the North are being accommodated here. ICABS was disgusted to note from a coursing fixtures list obtained from the National Parks and Wildlife Service that the two Northern Irish coursing clubs were permitted to join forces with the East Donegal and County Cavan clubs.

Despite an eighty per cent majority of citizens wanting the blood sport banned, Ireland is set to become one of the last few remaining countries in the world to allow coursing. Scotland has already banned it while England and Wales are soon to follow.


Contact Minister Dick Roche and urge him to follow the good example of his counterpart in Northern Ireland.

(If possible, please write your own original letter. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence).

Minister Dick Roche
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House
Dublin 1
Tel: 01-8882403
Fax: 01-8788640
Email: minister@environ.ie

Dear Minister Roche,

I am writing to urge you to follow the good example of Minister Angela Smith who has recently extended the ban on capturing and killing hares.

I think it is most disappointing, unjust and undemocratic that your department disregards the views of 80 per cent of the Irish population by continuing to license this blood sport. Opinion polls carried out over the past three decades have repeatedly confirmed that a huge majority want this coursing banned.

Hare coursing in Northern Ireland was stopped earlier this year with the introduction of a ban on the netting of hares. This ban has now been extended until at least March 2005. I call on you to urgently work towards enforcing a similar ban here. As it stands, the Republic not only allows this blood sport but it is also now accommodating two Northern clubs who were prevented from coursing in that jurisdiction.

As one of the majority who want the "protected" hare species spared the abuse of coursing, I call on you to grant no further licences to hare coursing clubs. Please make the current coursing season the final one.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive reply.

Yours sincerely,


03. Brigitte Bardot supports coursing ban in Ireland

ICABS is delighted to report that Brigitte Bardot has expressed her support for our campaign against hare coursing in Ireland. Brigitte has signed our "Stop the Terror - Ban Hare Coursing" campaign postcard, a copy of which we have forwarded to the Taoiseach, the Tanaiste and the Minister for the Environment.

In a letter received by ICABS from Paris-based Fondation Brigitte Bardot, it was stated that "Brigitte Bardot supports the banning of hare coursing and the use of an artificial lure instead".

ICABS has thanked Mrs Bardot for this positive gesture of support and we hope it will encourage many others to come forward and work with us to ban this blood sport in Ireland.

For more information about the Brigitte Bardot Foundation and its international campaigns, please visit www.fondationbrigittebardot.fr

04. Trevor Sargent calls for end to coursing licences

Green Party leader, Trevor Sargent, has called on the Minister for the Environment to stop licensing hare coursing. The call comes as hares continue to die from stress-related illnesses and maulings during coursing activities.

Mr Sargent raised the issue in a parliamentary question at the beginning of December. Responding, Minister Dick Roche dismissed the call and insisted that coursers would be allowed to continue capturing wild hares for use in the blood sport. The full question and answer follows.

Question 167 - Answered on 8th December, 2004

Trevor Sargent: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will consider the threat of myopathy for the hare species, which is a stress induced condition; and if he will end licences for hare coursing to minimise the threat.

For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 8th December, 2004. Ref No: 29372/04.


Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr Dick Roche): Under section 34 of the Wildlife Act 1976, my Department is responsible for the issue of an annual licence to the Irish Coursing Club and its affiliated clubs to capture live hares for the purpose of coursing.

There is no evidence that hare coursing in Ireland adversely impacts on the conservation of hare populations and there are no proposals to change existing arrangements for the licensed netting of wild hares for live hare coursing.

In the case of the coursing meeting last season in which the mortality was exceptionally high, the possibility of stress (myopathy) as a constructive factor was considered by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department. While it was not possible to establish why, in this particular case, the hares should have been particularly vulnerable, my Department regarded this level of mortality as a serious matter. Accordingly, the club in question will, this year, be holding a scaled down event, closely monitored by my Department to ensure that its management regime does not increase the risk of myopathy.

05. New Petition: Ban Blood Sports in 2005

ICABS has this month launched a new petition aimed at members of the Irish Government. Entitled "Ban Blood Sports in 2005", the petition calls for an urgent ban on hare coursing, fox hunting, carted deer hunting, mink hunting, hare hunting and all forms of hunting animals with hounds.

Show your opposition to blood sports by signing the petition and collecting as many signatures as possible among your friends, family and workmates. The petition is downloadable from Petitions Page of the ICABS website or can be posted out to you if requested. Thank you to everyone who has collected petitions in recent months.

06. Foxhunt trespass highlighted in Dail

In a parliamentary question to the Environment Minister, Cork South Central TD, Dan Boyle, has highlighted the issue of hunt trespass, hunt-related damage and the disturbance of livestock. The full question and answer follows.

Question 314 - Answered on 16th December, 2004

Dan Boyle: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if a hunt (details supplied) in County Cork is licensed; the terms of such a licence in particular, if it specifies the areas in which participants may hunt; and if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there have been repeated complaints regarding the activities of this hunt, including it crossing farmlands without permission, entering fields in which heifers are in calf, cutting fences and entering game sanctuaries.

Ref No: 33798/04


Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr Dick Roche): The hunt referred in question is a fox hunt. A licence, under the Wildlife Acts 1976 and 2000, is not required for the hunting of non-protected species, such as foxes.

07. Another hunting priest is exposed

Yet another priest has been exposed as being involved in blood sports. According to the Irish Field newspaper dated 25th December 2004, a priest in Co Wexford mounts a horse and goes hunting with the Killinick Harriers twice every week. Harrier hunting involves chasing and killing foxes and hares; when the unfortunate animals are caught, the hunt's pack of hounds tear them apart.

The report had the following to say about the hunting priest. "Fr David Murphy of Cahoreigh Parish deliberated before take-off, casting his eyes up to the sky, presumably looking for divine inspiration. He only started hunting seven years ago. Consequently there are no ceremonies on Mondays or Thursdays, the days the Killinicks hunt."

Outlining the day's hunting (which was also attended by Wexford footballer, Redmond Barry), particular reference is made to the chasing of a fox which was sent running for its life from a covert: "hounds found a fox that ran on by Dermot Days, running on to Jim Powers of Thornville, [then] ran on to Mattie O'Briens and through Pat Esmonds, where he turned again at Ringaheen, as if to retrace his steps back to Silversprings. Whips were spread out as hounds split and were hunting hard."

This is the latest in a long line of members of the clergy who defend or are involved in blood sport cruelty. In recent years, ICABS has highlighted:

- A Catholic bishop in Co Galway who allowed the Galway Blazers foxhunt access to his 70-acre farm.

- An Anglican bishop in Limerick who claimed that "not much suffering is involved" in bullfighting.

- A priest in Meath who plugged the controversial Ward Union carted deerhunt on national television.

- Priests in Limerick, Waterford, Kilkenny, etc blessing packs of foxhounds before the start of hunts. This involves reading prayers from a bible and shaking holy water over the dogs.

- Priests around the country participating in hunting and coursing

- A priest in County Clare acting as chaplain to the County Clare Foxhounds.

- A Cork-based priest whose greyhound won in the national coursing finals in Clonmel and who described his involvement in coursing as being "well intentioned".

Although acknowledging that most members of the clergy are compassionate and would condemn cruelty, ICABS will be expressing its disgust once again to the Catholic Communications Office that any priest would find it appropriate to take pleasure in terrorising and killing wildlife. Please join us by following the action items below.


Please contact the Catholic Communications Office and request a clarification of the Catholic Church's policy regarding members of the clergy partaking in blood sport activities in Ireland. Ask why priests are being permitted to act contrary to the Catholic Catechism by involving themselves with coursing and hunt clubs. The Director, Catholic Communications Office, St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Co Kildare. Tel: +353 (0)1 505 3000. Fax: +353 (0)1 601 6413. Email: info@catholiccommunications.ie

(If possible, please write your own original letter. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence).

Dear Sir,

According to paragraph 2418 of the new Catholic Catechism: "It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly."

With this in mind, I wish to express my disappointment that members of the Catholic clergy in Ireland are continuing to partake in blood sport activities like foxhunting and hare coursing. Reports in recent months have confirmed that priests are still hunting with foxhunts and attending hare coursing meetings.

Such priests ought to be setting a good example to their parishioners and not giving their approval to acts of animal abuse. I call on the Catholic Church to address this issue immediately and to compel all members of the clergy in Ireland to disassociate themselves from hunting and coursing.

Thank you. I would be grateful if you would acknowledge my correspondence and I look forward to your prompt response.

Yours faithfully,



Please contact the following and ask why a member of the local clergy is being allowed to take part in an activity which involves the terrorisation and killing of wildlife. Appeal to them to ensure that a respect for all living creatures is promoted.

Most Rev Éamonn Walsh DD
Apostolic Administrator
Bishop's House
Tel: +353 (0)53-22177
Fax +353 (0)53-23436

Fr John Carroll
Diocesan Secretary
Tel: +353 (0)53-24368
Fax: +353 (0)53-23436
Email: jc@ferns.ie

08. Please contact your local politicians

With foxhunting and coursing banned in Scotland and soon to be banned in England and Wales, now is a vital time for us here in Ireland to intensify our campaign for political action to end these cruel activities.

We appeal to all supporters to write, phone and email your local Dail and Senate representatives. Tell them that the time has now come for the Irish Government to follow the good example of the UK Government and finally outlaw hare coursing, carted deer hunting, fox hunting, hare hunting and mink hunting.

You may also consider making an appointment to visit the clinic of your TD or Senator and making your views about blood sports known. Ask them where they stand on the issue and what steps they plan to take to hasten a blood sports ban. If you require information leaflets or newsletters to present to politicians, please get in touch with us and we will happily supply you with as many copies as you need.

For the names and contact details of politicians, please refer to the following webpages.

TDs - Visit www.oireachtas.ie, click on Dáil Éireann (on menu at left) and then click on Deputies.

Senators - Visit www.oireachtas.ie, click on Seanad Éireann (on menu at left) and then click on Senators.

MEPS - Visit www.europarl.ie

09. Complaint to Irish Times over Ward Union coverage

ICABS has complained to the editor of the Irish Times following the publication on December 28th of nearly half a page of hunt photographs. The images showed Ward Union hunt master Michael Bailey (who is perhaps best known for having been found by a planning tribunal to have made corrupt payments to then Minister Ray Burke) and members of the hunt on a road alongside a pack of hounds.

While we are pleased that the page 4 spread conveyed the cruelty of the hunt by including a photo of a stag running across a field, our complaint is based on the fact that the piece was predominantly a positive portrayal of this controversial hunt.

What follows are extracts from our letter to the Irish Times editor.

We were briefly informed that it was the Ward Union Hunt on their "annual" outing and that the "stag managed to get away". However, your readers should know the facts about this deer hunt, which we contend is illegal, and is being facilitated by our government which has been turning a blind eye to this cruelty for decades.

Firstly, this deer hunt isn't an annual one-off. It takes place twice a week for almost six months over the winter period. The deer hunted are from the Ward Union's privately owned farmed red deer herd, and to give this sick abuse some curious semblance of "respectability", it receives a licence, under the Wildlife Act, from the Minister for the Environment, despite the fact that the animals are clearly not wild. They are domestic animals, and as such, it is an offence to terrorise or cause them unnecessary suffering. (In any event, we strongly contend that all animals should be protected from such abuse, be they domestic or wild).

Every Tuesday and Friday, two deer are taken from the Ward Union's deer park in a transporter - one to be hunted and the other as a back-up spare - to a destination in Meath or North County Dublin. The bewildered animal is released from the cart and after a ten minute head start, the cavalry arrive with their hound dogs and with much whooping, hollering and frenzied excitement, give chase. The chase can last anything up to three hours. During the hunt, the deer frantically tries to outrun the hunters and their pack of dogs. Being in unfamiliar terrain, it has an extremely hazardous route ahead. Crashing through hedges, over walls, across busy public roads and even into rivers, the terrified creature does everything it can to stay ahead, often incurring cuts, bruises, lameness and at times more serious injuries and even death. When the unfortunate animal is exhausted and can run no more, a group of hunt hangers-on rush in to wrestle the terrified creature to the ground. It is then dragged and bundled into the cart and taken back to the deerpark after providing the bully boys and girls with a day's "sport".

Most shamefully, the Department of Agriculture is well aware of the cruelty involved and its veterinary inspectors have reported disturbing incidents, including a deer hanging by his front leg on barbed wire; a deer which died of an aneurism; a deer "accidentally" choked on capture; and a deer, having run 8 miles in 90 minutes, showing extreme physical distress, panting through its mouth, with a lather of white foam around its muzzle. One inspector wrote a damning report which concluded that many aspects of this hunt was "inhumane". Interestingly, this report remained buried since 1997, despite a Freedom of Information Request and an appeal to the Commissioner. It finally fell into our hands last year - "murder will always out!"

In 1999, the then Minister for the Environment, Ms Sile De Valera, following a review by the Heritage Council into the licensing of the hunt, sought the advice of the Attorney General on the legality of this hunt, and apparently, the advice was that the hunt could carry on, despite the domesticity of the deer, while across the border in 1997, a similar hunt was brought to an end because of the deers' domesticity and the cruelty involved. It is quite clear to those of us who campaign against such blatant cruelty that the government is pandering to seemingly rich and powerful interests and is quite prepared to make a mockery of the laws of the land in the process.


Urge the editor of the Irish Times to publish a thorough expose of the Ward Union Hunt's activities and investigate why a hunt which uses domesticated deer continues to be licensed under the Wildlife Act. The contact details are: The Editor, The Irish Times, 10-16, D'Olier Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. Tel: +353 (0)1 6758000. Email: lettersed@irish-times.ie

10. President Mary McAleese invited to sign petition

ICABS has written to President Mary McAleese and invited her to express her support for a ban on cruel blood sports by signing our new "Ban Blood Sports in Ireland" petition.

We hope to bring you an update on this in the next issue of Animal Voice.

11. Thirty-five deer shot in Sligo, many left to die slowly

In a merciless massacre over the Christmas period, 35 deer were gunned down in Sligo. Many were reportedly left to slowly bleed to death.

Quoted in the Irish Independent of 29th December, local Fianna Fail TD, Dr Jimmy Devins called for a National Parks and Wildlife Service investigation into the callous shooting of the animals which took place near Tubbercurry.

"We have legislation in place which controls the number of deer we have wild in the country," Dr. Devins said. "This law also sets out how any culling is to take place and that it is to be done under controlled circumstances and under license."

12. Badger extermination "not viable" say Irish researchers

[Source: National Federation of Badger Groups]

Badger extermination is not a viable way to control bovine tuberculosis in cattle, researchers in Ireland have concluded.

In the first major paper on the Republic of Ireland's Four Areas badger culling trial, published in Preventive Veterinary Medicine, the researchers conclude: "Although feasible, we acknowledge that widespread badger removal is not a viable strategy for the long-term control of tuberculosis in the Irish cattle population".

The paper entitled "The impact of badger removal on the control of tuberculosis in cattle herds in Ireland" is available online from www.sciencedirect.com.

Dr Elaine King, chief executive for the National Federation of Badger Groups, says: "This trial suggests that badger culling only reduces TB in cattle if every single badger is exterminated. Even if you exclude the moral and political implications of such a strategy, the Irish study does not show whether the effect is large enough to warrant the massive economic cost of the slaughter."

The NFBG contacted the paper's correspondence author, statistician Dr David Williams, to establish why the researchers had concluded that culling was "feasible" but "not viable". He said: "It would be technically possible to try and do it if it were legal or desirable or moral. But it's neither legal nor morally justified, or anything like that, especially when there are alternatives."

The trial involved exterminating 2,360 badgers across 1,214 square kilometres in Cork, Donegal, Kilkenny and Monaghan between 1997 and 2002. This is similar to the "proactive" badger culling strategy currently being implemented in the so-called Krebs' experiment in Britain, but badgers have been virtually eradicated from the study areas in Ireland.

TB in cattle from these "removal" areas was compared to TB in cattle from "reference" areas - a weakened equivalent of a scientific control. The researchers report that the chance of a herd of cattle not having a TB outbreak for the next five years was between "seven per cent (Donegal) and 24 per cent (Kilkenny) higher in removal over reference areas."

Dr King concludes: "This paper fails to answer the key question that every cattle farmer in Britain will be asking: what was the reduction in bovine TB? Eighteen months ago, the Irish researchers told Radio 4 that badger culling reduced TB in cattle by an average of 80 per cent. That claim is simply not supported by this paper. In fact, it's impossible to determine the actual reduction in TB that has been achieved in Ireland by badger culling.

"We have been advised that the Republic of Ireland has slaughtered more than half its badgers over the last ten years, reducing the population to less than 100,000 badgers. Badger densities are significantly lower in Ireland compared to Britain. Yet in 2002, the last year for which data are available, 6.5 per cent of Irish cattle herds were under TB restriction. In Britain, which has three times more badgers than Ireland, 3.6 per cent of herds are under movement restriction.

"Ireland's futile badger slaughter has simply confirmed that badger culling will never be a solution to the problem of bovine TB. This makes it vital that Defra focuses all its energies on controlling the movement of infected livestock and removing all infected cattle by implementing the more accurate gamma interferon TB test."

Responding to the content of the paper, Agriculture Minister, Mary Coughlan, stated that "it will be necessary in the medium term to continue with the existing comprehensive control and eradication [of badgers]."


1. Contact Minister Mary Coughlan

Urgently contact the Minister for Agriculture, Mary Coughlan, and ask her to immediately stop the terrible snaring assault on Ireland's badger population.

Minister Mary Coughlan
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2
Tel: 01-6072000
Lo-call 1890-200510
Email: mary.coughlan@oireachtas.ie

2. Contact Minister Dick Roche

Demand that Minister Dick Roche immediately intervenes and refuses to issue further licences for the snaring of badgers. Remind the minister that the Wildlife Act lists badgers as a protected species and that the TB Eradication scheme has been described as "slaughter masquerading as science".

Minister Dick Roche
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House
Dublin 1
Tel: 01-8882403
Fax: 01-8788640
Email: minister@environ.ie

3. Send Minister Mary Coughlan a campaign postcard

If you would like a "Stop the Badger Snaring Slaughter" postcard to send to Minister Coughlan, please contact us now. If you have friends who would be willing to join this protest by sending in a card, please specify how many cards you require. Thank you.

4. Sign the online petition

Badger Watch Ireland is asking people to sign an online petition at: www.petitiononline.com/dgm001/petition.html. Alternatively, a petition is available to print from the Petitions Page of the ICABS website.

5. Report location of snares

If you know the whereabouts of snares which the Department of Agriculture has set, please contact ICABS or BadgerWatch immediately.

13. Conviction of Cruel Horse Owner

(Source: ISPCA website)

A cruel horse dealer/farmer was fined 600 Euro on 8th December 2004 by Galway District Court. Patrick Melia of Cloonboo, Co. Galway was convicted on two counts of cruelty under the Protection of Animals Act 1911.

On 7th April 2004, ISPCA Inspector, Mark Beazley, was called on to inspect the premises of Mr Melia who was reported to have a dead horse exposed on his land.

On inspection of the premises Mr Beazley was faced with a horrific scene of neglect and cruelty. There were a number of cattle trailers on the premises containing horses, ponies and calves with no visible food or water.

A bay gelding, in the first of Mr Melia's stables, lay unresponsive, breathing heavily and lathered in sweat. The gelding was twitching uncontrollably with its legs locked straight out and it was unable to lift its neck.

Inspector Beazley was next confronted with a chestnut mare lying dead together with a two year old Piebald Stallion. Upon examination the Piebald stallion was found to be extremely emaciated with large open sores extending to most of its body. There was a strong stench from these sores, which indicated widespread infection. At the rear of the building another grey mare was found dead. Mr Melia admitted the animal had been there for a day or two.

Inspector Beazley immediately contacted the Gardai and two veterinary surgeons to assist him on the premises. The veterinary surgeons agreed that the bay gelding, due to the extent of its condition, had to be immediately put to sleep to prevent further suffering. The stallion was so weak and thin that it was unable to sustain its fight for survival.

Mr Beazley commented, "While the ISPCA welcomes the conviction of Mr Melia, the society would have hoped that a ban on keeping animals would have been imposed in a case such as this. Of particular concern was the fact that veterinary care was not sought despite the evident suffering of the horses."

14. Campaign Quotes

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Brigitte Bardot supports the banning of hare coursing and the use of an artificial lure instead." From a letter to ICABS from Fondation Brigitte Bardot, Paris. (December 2004)

"Actor Jeremy Irons has joined the battle against the ban on hunting with dogs. The pompous twit is the joint master of the West Carbery Hunt in County Cork. 'We're not harming anyone,' he says. 'The whole situation is terribly depressing.' Will somebody tell him it's not a terribly nice feeling for the hundreds of dismembered foxes he and his mates leave scattered around Ireland each year." (Daily Mirror, December 4th, 2004).

"[A ban on hunting in the UK] will not help but the whole [Irish sport horse] industry will not cave in either. It's like a factory closing. There is a direct and instant impact on the immediate area. But alternative activities will be found by many of the riders." Martin Donohoe of Goresbridge Horse Sales Ltd. (Irish Independent, January 4th, 2005).

"Most of the autumn [cub] hunting is done on foot in Kilkenny. They were out over 40 mornings this season, so the hounds are extremely fit." (From a report on the Kilkenny Foxhounds, The Irish Field, 4th December, 2004.

"The [Co. Kilkenny Foxhounds] meet at Gowran always attracts a good number of visitors, many of whom are regulars. Belvoir Master Martin Brown was out for the day, along with a trio from the Flint & Denbigh, and Barry Henderson, head of Countryside Alliance in North Wales. David and Jenny Taylor from the Bicester were following on foot." (The Belvoir, Flint & Denbigh and Bicester hunts referred to are all UK-based). (Irish Field newspaper 4th December 2004).

"Every Christmas, from earliest memories, my family loaded up the car on St Stephen's morning, and headed off to Lismolin, in South Tipperary. I grew up a few miles away in Drangan and going to Lismolin on St Stephen's Day was a given. It was the annual Christmas meet when the local hunt was out in force. The days were always crisp and dry and everyone, young and old, was there. I still go on St Stephen's morning when I'm in Tipperary and have introduced it to my husband, Tony (Tony O'Donoghue, of RTE Sport) and daughter Aoife." (Mary Wilson, RTE's Legal Affairs Correspondent quoted in the RTE Guide, December 17th, 2004).

"Secretary thanked the sponsors who help so many clubs and tracks and particularly the sponsors of the National [Coursing] Meeting, Boyle Bookmakers for their sponsorship of the BoyleSports Derby, Hotel Minella for their sponsorship of the Hotel Minella Oaks, Gerry Chawke for his sponsorship of the Gerry Chawke T.A. Morris Stakes and the Gerry Chawke Kitty Butler Stakes, the Classics Club for their sponsorship of the Classics Club Champion Bitch Stake. He thanked J. P. McManus for his sponsorship of the Irish Cup and all the other sponsors involved in the Irish Cup." (From the Sporting Press website, June 2004).

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